On Wednesday, the low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle announced the reopening of 76 routes in Europe from 1 July, with mandatory masks and without meals, after months of near shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Norwegian, which had operated only eight aircraft on domestic routes since April, will put 12 additional aircraft back into service, serving London, Paris, Nice, Spain and Greece from the Scandinavian capitals.
“Feedback from our customers has shown that they want to resume flights and travel with Norwegian beyond the current domestic routes we operate,” said Managing Director Jacob Schram in a statement.
“Norwegian returns to European skies with the reintroduction of more aircraft to serve our key destinations,” he added.
Among the health measures surrounding the resumption of these flights, the wearing of masks will be mandatory for passengers over six years of age and no meals or drinks will be served on board.
Already in financial difficulties before the Covid-19 epidemic, Europe’s third low-cost airline saw its setbacks worsen with the health crisis that paralysed air traffic.
Then on the verge of bankruptcy, the company adopted a rescue plan in May that included the conversion of part of its considerable debt and financial commitments into new shares, as well as a new capital increase.
In doing so, it fulfilled the conditions set by the Norwegian government for the granting of guarantees totalling SEK 3 billion (almost €280 million), a lifeline for its survival.
The still timid recovery of activities in Europe will allow the return of around 200 pilots and 400 cabin crew, currently on layoff.